The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘The most fun that I would never want to have again’

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Students take turns filling up their buckets with water during the Fish Water Fight. 

For 914 freshmen, this year’s Gig ’Em Week was a profoundly different experience than that of most incoming Texas A&M students.

A Final Review Saturday marked the end of 10 days of rigorous training known as Freshman Orientation Week, or “Hell Week,” for the newest class in the Corps of Cadets.

During the training period, 48 freshmen dropped out of the Corps, bringing the 2019 cadet class to 866 members, said Deputy Corps Commander Matt Vanderbloemen.

Vanderbloemen said the training gets new cadets up to speed on Corps standards.

“It’s pretty overwhelming, because it’s 24 hours of your day being scheduled for 10 days,” Vanderbloemen said. “There’s a lot of stress involved, because you’re just trying to be as good as you can be, but at the end of it, you realize that that’s not what your whole Corps career is like and things start getting to normal.”

The training is fundamental for freshmen about to embark on their first week of university classes, Vanderbloemen said.

“It’s not to weed out freshman — that’s not the purpose,” Vanderbloemen said. “It’s to get them ready to where, on the first day of class, they can walk to class and know how to put on their uniform and know how to navigate the college world while not feeling overwhelmed by the Corps aspect of it.”

On Wednesday, midway through FOW, “fish” had the opportunity to blow off steam at the annual water fight.

Corps of Cadets Commander Alyssa Michalke said the water fight gives freshmen a chance to have some fun before the year starts, when they’ll have focus more on training.

“We have a lot of professional focus this year, a lot of more purposeful training, a higher level of activities, so it’s going really well,” Michalke said.

For male cadets, a big part of FOW is getting the standard Corps buzzcut. Connor Hoffman, cadet and chemistry freshman, said he showed up for FOW alone with a full head of hair. Now, as Hoffman puts it, nearly all of his hair gone, he is no longer alone at Texas A&M.


“In the time that was spent marching in lines, getting yelled at by upperclassmen, and learning Corps things, I unintentionally formed relationships with 21 other redass individuals that make up the fightin’ Gator 2 fish Class of 2019,” Hoffman said.

Tevis Cannon, cadet and rangeland ecology and management freshman, said the 10 days of FOW are an emotional rollercoaster.

“The suffering was worth it because of fish review we had [Saturday] morning where we marched into Simpson Drill Field and took the Cadet Oath and became full fledged Cadets,” Cannon said.

Kaliegh Carnes, cadet and biology freshman, said although it was difficult getting through FOW, it will be worth it once she commissions as an officer in the U.S. Army.

“FOW is almost like a summer camp that you constantly wish you could go home from and the word ‘fun’ could be found nowhere,” Carnes said.

Hoffman said overall FOW was a great way to get ready to start college and he is looking forward to his time in the Corps at Texas A&M University.
“My experiences in the Corps of Cadets, thus far, have been extraordinary to say the least,” Hoffman said. “It was the most fun that I would never want to have again.”

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